SPEAK OUT: How has the Woodmont Closure Affected Drivers, Cyclists and Pedestrians?

One advocate says the closure jams streets and endangers those on bike and on foot.

As developments break ground and Bethesda adjusts to shovels and cranes, one advocate says the closure of Woodmont Avenue is endangering pedestrians and cyclists.

A portion of Woodmont Avenue near busy Bethesda Row was closed in September for 20 months to allow for the construction of a major public parking garage and two mixed-use residential developments. Traffic heading south on Woodmont must now either turn right or left onto Bethesda Avenue rather than connecting to Wisconsin Avenue.

Ben Ross, of the Action Committee for Transit, wrote in a post on the blog Greater Greater Washington that the closure has "put pedestrians and cyclists at risk, while needlessly jamming up car traffic."

Sidewalk closures are a detriment to pedestrians and businesses, according to Ross, while the closure has caused cyclists using the nearby Capital Crescent Trail to merge into traffic lanes.

Ross writes:

"The traffic engineers, focused as usual on cars.... ignored the movement of bicycles between the trail and the roadways. The great majority of weekday cyclists go from the trail into the traffic lanes. The new traffic pattern endangers these cyclists with a signal that sends them into moving auto traffic.

Also, the construction traffic pattern continues the county's ongoing disregard for the safety and convenience of pedestrians. There may not be room for a temporary walkway next to the construction, but a crosswalk could have been marked where the sidewalk ends on Bethesda Avenue. Instead, the county erected a "Sidewalk Closed" sign a block away, needlessly driving away walk-in customers that the street's businesses depend on."

Read the full post at Greater Greater Washington.

Do you walk, bike or drive near the intersection of Woodmont Avenue and Bethesda Avenue? How has the Woodmont closure affected you? Tell us in the comments.

Ben Ross October 04, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Just to be clear - I am not complaining about the closure of Woodmont itself. It is necessary while new buildings go up that will be an asset to Bethesda. What has endangered pedestrians and cyclists and slowed down auto traffic much more than necessary is the way that the county Dept. of Transportation is managing the intersection during the closure. Please read my blog post at Greater Greater Washington for the details.


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